5 Ways to Stay Positive in Retirement

Retirement literally means a removal or withdrawal from service, often into privacy or seclusion. Retirees withdraw from a world they have been entrenched in for many years when they remove themselves from the working world.

However, I do not believe that the goal of those attaining age 65 is necessarily to hide from the rest of the world. Few retirees-to-be would describe their plans in terms of seclusion. While escaping the hectic nature of the working world is a commonly shared goal, retirement is also seen by many as a time to turn the page and begin a new chapter. Retirees are not done with life. They are just changing gears as they re-channel their energies toward new passions and experiences.

Unfortunately, there are some people who will experience a retirement that may accurately be described as secluded. Elderly people who have not prepared for the changes that are part and parcel of retired life may find themselves alone, uninspired, unchallenged, and living in a seclusion that is not their choice.

Many people underestimate the challenges of living a fulfilling and happy retirement. A 2011 National Public Radio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard School of Public Health survey found that about a quarter of retirees say life is worse after retirement. To avoid falling into such a predicament it is helpful to pursue positive goals as we transition into retirement:

1. Enjoy your grandchildren. What can be better than spending time with an energetic bundle of smiles and hugs, especially when their able parents can quickly be called upon to step in when their attitude becomes negative? Grandparents get to enjoy all of the good things about children, and hand over the reins when the bad comes along. A true joy ofspending time with grandchildren is you can be part of first-time experiences that result in wide-eyed wonder and amazement. Sharing these new experiences not only brings back personal memories but bonds you together for a lifetime.

2. Get up and get out. When you move around your body and mind benefit. Sitting in one place for too long dulls the mind and slows the body. Rather than looking for the path requiring the least effort, get moving. Walk to the store rather than drive. After dinner, don’t flop in front of the TV until you have taken a journey around the block on your own two feet. And when you do watch TV, why not add in a little stretching or sit-ups or push-ups.

3. Smile. It is difficult to feel badly when you have a smile on your face. Being happy improves your quality of life and perhaps also the quantity of life. A British study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that older people who reported feeling happy and content during a typical day were 35 percent less likely to die during the course of the five-year study. And if smiling doesn’t work, what do you have to lose?

4. Watch or read something funny. How bad can things really be if you are laughing? I am a sucker for slapstick comedy, so The Three Stooges are the perfect tonic for all that ails me. Their antics may be a little low-brow for your tastes, but you probably have a particular comedian or actress that can always give you a chuckle. With all of the suffering we hear of each day, a little laughter can go a long way to improve our outlook.

5. Do something nice for someone. When we put the needs of another ahead of our own there is an inner satisfaction experienced that is hard to describe. A little thing done spontaneously without expectation of any reward can bring a smile to the face of the recipient as well as the giver. It is easy and opportunities present themselves with great frequency. You just have to be tuned in and ready to act when the moment arises.

From my US News & World Blog. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

One thought on “5 Ways to Stay Positive in Retirement

  1. I agree that if you plan to do nothing, the days can get quite long. Finding the things that I loved to do made all the difference. Now I run/walk, do yoga, write freelance (with real deadlines and everything), meet friends for wine or dinner on a regular basis and travel. All these things give a zen-like structure to my days and this is a very happy and rewarding time as a result.

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